The song tells the story of a band of convicts who escaped to Victoria from Van Diemen's Land. Here is an excerpt from the sleeve notes of Cockersdale, who have recorded the song:
Anderson's Coast concerns of a group of convicts who escaped Van Diemen's Land in a stolen ship, only to be wrecked by the notorious Bass Strait waves on the Gippsland coast (in Victoria). The explorer Strzlecki and his small band stumbled out of dense rainforest and encountered the marooned men. Strzlecki would probably have perished had it not been for his Koori guide Charlie Tarra and this group of convicts who led him to Anderson, a pioneer settler who ran cattle on the South Gippsland coast. Apparently the convicts were pardoned for their contribution to the explorer's survival.
John Warner is a well-known Sydney songwriter, and here is a paragraph I've pinched from his own website:
John Warner is a Sydney-based, traditional-style singer and poet/songwriter with a wide-ranging repertoire biased towards chorus songs and songs of history, industry and the environment. John is renowned all over the world for his well-crafted songs - as recent accolades from Gordon Bok and Danny Spooner affirm. Many people have recorded "Anderson's Coast"; and "Bring out the Banners" is sung by Trade Union choirs all over Australia, and also in the UK and Canada. He is an accomplished musician on the 6 and 12 string guitars and also on bouzouki. John has a strong voice, often sings unaccompanied, and is an inventive and sensitive harmony singer.
Read the rest of his illustrious career at www.folkjohnwarner.com.
The version of Anderson's Coast we are singing is based on the memorable arrangement by Nancy Kerr and James Fagan, who will no doubt perform it when they appear at this year's National Folk Festival in Canberra at Easter. Here is a clip of them at Bath Folk Festival singing their version:
We will sing the whole song (in unison) this coming week, and also keep working on Pete Morton's "Another Train", which is sounding stunning already.